Location Seed: Neo-Karuizawa.


Karuizawa (Nagano Prefecture, Japan) is a resort town east and south of Tokyo.  It has about twenty thousand inhabitants, numerous sporting and recreational facilities, and is generally considered to be a very nice place to visit.  One of its major claims to fame is that is the only city in the world to host events from both a Summer and Winter Olympics, and there was an unpleasant domestic terrorist event there decades ago; but today generally Karuizawa is simply a pleasant, charming vacation spot.

Which is why it’s so odd that a clone of it is growing in the jungles of Tristan da Cunha.

Where’s Tristan da Cunha?  It’s an island in the South Atlantic that’s over ten thousand, two hundred miles away from Karuizawa.  It’s so out of the way that its closest neighbor is the island of St. Helena, which is where they eventually put Napoleon (because back then they couldn’t very well send the man to the moon).  It’s also a very rainy (albeit temperate) and mildly dangerous place to live (extensive storms, erupting volcano within living memory), so it’s not very populated. It wasn’t until 2017 that a local discovered Neo-Karuizawa, and 2018 before anybody in the outside world really noticed the discovery.  Fortunately, it’s also easy for the appropriate authorities to cover all of this up.

So what’s actually happening there?  Well, it’s like the city is literally being reproduced out of the original vegetation.  About five percent of the town has been recreated, as of the last set of pictures; local reports insist that the finished portions look like an empty but complete Japanese town, complete with functional electricity and public utilities, various forms of media, closets full of clothes and junk, nothing unusual.  Except, of course, for the utter lack of people or even animals. People on Tristan da Cunha are starting to wonder when all of those will be appearing.

The good news is, nobody’s died! Or disappeared! Or started babbling about how THEY were watching everybody, followed by a sudden personality shift and a dull monotone about how everything is fine after all and it was all a silly joke, ha-ha?  None of the warning signs, in other words — but the locals would like somebody to come and look at this, please, and it’s hard to fault them for that. This is very weird. Not really dangerous, but weird.

So! Tickets to Cape Town.  Research boat from Cape Town to Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, population 250.  Funny joke, there: the locals (who, as you might have guessed by now, are somewhat more tuned-in to this Great Game of ours than most people) call their settlement ‘The Village.’  …We’ll make sure that the boat’s library has a copy of the television series. It’s going to be a longish trip and there’s a limit to how much you can read conventional briefing materials, especially ones that are mostly just answering the most obvious questions with a resigned shrug.

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